Positive coronavirus cases in Bexar County jumped by another 61, while two more have died from the new virus.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Thursday that one of the women who died was in her 60s and had underlying health conditions. The other was a man in his 50s with an underlying medical condition.

“This virus does not discriminate,” Nirenberg said. “We must all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially as we head into a weekend that is normally celebrated with our friends and family.”

The mayor urged San Antonians to celebrate Holy Week at home and practice social distancing. Under the stay-at home order extension, the City will close parks starting Friday night through 5 a.m. Monday morning, quashing the local tradition of having picnics and camping at parks over Easter weekend.

Of the 615 positive COVID-19 cases in Bexar County, 117 are people under 30 years old and a third of the cases are people under 40, Nirenberg said. All 22 of those who died from COVID-19 were 40 years or older.

“If anyone is under the impression that because they’re healthy, they’re fit and young, [they are] invincible from this disease, they’re dead wrong,” he said. “And we don’t want it to end up that way. We want to make sure people understand that maybe they could withstand the virus, but they could transmit it to someone who couldn’t.”

There were no new cases of COVID-19 found at the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center as of Thursday, though there are now 10 residents hospitalized, Nirenberg said. Three were transported to a hospital on Thursday, and four are on ventilators. In the nursing home, 67 residents and eight staff members tested positive. There have been 10 deaths from the outbreak.

More than 6,000 people have been tested in Bexar County with private providers and the drive-thru testing site combined, Nirenberg said. The Freeman Coliseum site has tested just under 4,000 people as of Wednesday; more than 400 people were tested at the Freeman Coliseum on Thursday.

There was one more San Antonio Police Department officer who tested positive, Nirenberg said, bringing the total positive coronavirus count in SAPD to five. No more Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies have tested positive, Wolff said.

Nirenberg also said he has ordered 2,100 ventilators from the state; there are more than 500 ventilators still available. Of those hospitalized, 42 are currently on ventilators and 55 are in intensive care.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff urged residents to continue to wash their hands and disinfect frequently-touched areas of their homes. He also said he was watching federal and state lawsuits about expanded mail-in ballot access for future elections and he supported those lawsuits.

“This will not only protect the voters and election officials against this terrible problem that we’re facing with COVID-19, but it also expands voting rights for everybody,” he said.

The Bexar County Elections Department already has 23,000 mail-in ballots on hand, and Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen has ordered another 100,000 mail-in ballot envelopes to be ready if the decision to expand mail-in ballots goes through, Wolff said.

He acknowledged that the current crisis changes the trajectory of the county commissioners’ next few years. Before the pandemic, the County had been preparing for a bond election to fund streets and highways, while funding trailways and river improvements, Wolff said.

“Right now, I don’t see how we can do either one of those,” he said. “We are funding existing capital projects that have been funded and we will finish them and get them done, but at this point, we’re not starting any new ones. So, it looks to me like the next year or two, is going to be shoring up and doing everything we can to get through this crisis.”

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.